A pioneering smart grid project in Scotland which connects local residents to a renewables powered marketplace has begun its second phase after a successful first year.
The SMART Fintry project was launched last year with the intention of helping communities become more energy self-sufficient by closely matching their demand with generation from local renewable sources such as wind and solar.
The project claimed to be the first of its kind and within its first six months more than 80 households signed up. They received a smart meter to better monitor their electricity consumption and were signed up to a renewable electricity tariff supplied by utility Good Energy.
The project was managed by a consortium comprising the Fintry Development Trust, Veitch Cooper, Energy Assets, Heriot Watt University and Good Energy. Deals were immediately struck with two nearby wind turbines and an anaerobic digestion plant to supply the electricity, effectively creating a local market.
And following its successful launch, Scotland’s Local Energy Challenge Fund has released a second tranche of funding for the project to progress to a second phase.
Residents of the Stirlingshire village signed up to the trial will now receive access to an online portal showing them their consumption while also more closely matching it to generation from the contracted generators.
Gordon Cowtan, co-founder of Fintry Development Trust and resident of the village, said: “In the long run, we hope that by reducing the strain on the national grid, smart local energy systems like the one being piloted in Fintry will help drive down household energy bills and make communities more self-sufficient”.
The concept lends strongly from Good Energy’s Selectricity product, which was borne from the Piclo trial it conducted alongside technology firm Open Utility last year.
That trial successfully demonstrated how local businesses and consumers could save money by procuring their energy from nearby generators and resulted in a nationwide launch which Good Energy is in the process of ramping up.
Will Vooght, head of research and innovation at Good Energy, said the company had received a “fantastic response” from Fintry residents so far.
“As well as more control over their energy use, SMART Fintry participants have the added benefit of being supplied by 100% renewable electricity – much of it from local sources,” he added.